CDC's Adolescent and School Health Work Improves Health and Saves Money

CDC's Adolescent and School Health Work Improves Lives and Saves Money

U.S. high school-aged students:

  • 40% report having ever had sex
  • One-quarter of all chlamydia cases – and 4 percent of new HIV infections – occurred among youth aged 13-19 in 2017
  • Nearly 1 in 5 report being bullied at school
  • Lesbian, gay, or bisexual students are twice as likely to be bullied and more likely to have experienced violence
  • 1 in 7 report misusing prescription opioids, which can lead to overdose, injection drug use, and increased risk for HIV and viral hepatitis

In the U.S., schools have a unique opportunity for population-level impact through their direct contact with millions of students


  • Quality HIV and STD prevention education helps youth make healthier choices.
  • From 2015 to 2017, schools within CDC funded local education agencies saw statistically significant declines in the percentage of students who ever had sex (40.8% to 37.1%), were currently sexually active (26 % to 23.8%) or had four or more lifetime sexual partners (12% to 10 %).
  • Youth are less likely to receive recommended preventive health services than adults and often face unique barriers to accessing sexual health services.
    • From 2014-2018, CDC-funded districts made more than 65,000 referrals to youth-friendly providers for key health services.
  • Helping young people feel engaged and cared for at home and at school — also called connectedness — may have substantial health benefits that last well beyond their teenage years.
    • In one CDC study, higher levels of teen connectedness were associated with as much as a 66% lower risk in areas of mental health, violence, sexual risks, and substance use.


  • CDC-funded programs prevent risk for HIV and other STDs for less than $10 per student
  • CDC funding connects close to 8% of the 26 million middle and high school students nationwide to quality health education, health services, and safe and supportive school environments:
    • From 2014-2018, funded local education agencies increased the proportion of schools that implemented quality sexual health education programs from 61% to 88% in middle schools and from 83% to 93% in high schools.
  • School-based HIV/STD prevention programs are cost-effective.
    • One study found that $1 invested in school-based HIV & STD prevention efforts saved $2.65 in medical and social costs.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

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Page last reviewed: February 6, 2020